A whiplash injury occurs when the neck moves back-and-forth rapidly after a collision. Common causes include auto accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Early symptoms include severe neck pain, which one often confuses for a neck sprain/strain. Physical therapy for whiplash can reduce the initial pain and limit further degeneration.
A cervical whiplash injury occurs due to a sudden hyperextension and immediate hyperflexion of the cervical vertebrae. That means, neck injuries sustained when it jerks back and forth after a forceful collision or fall. The unexpected movement can cause soft tissue injury, muscle strain, fractured vertebrae, or torn ligaments in the affected region.
These internal injuries result in severe neck pain and stiffness. These symptoms become noticeable immediately or usually within 24-48 hours of the accident.
The majority of patients recover a few weeks after they suffer from this type of neck injury. Yet, severe cases show that improper treatment and medical complications might result in chronic neck pain. One might also experience a limited range of motion if the neck pain escalates.
Our physical therapists develop individualized and personalized treatment plans to evade the risk of long-lasting damage.
The following whiplash symptoms may develop in the initial days:
- Neck pain that worsens with movement
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of range of motion
- Pain and discomfort in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Numbness, tingling, or pain in the arm or hand
- Headaches, localized at the base of the skull
- Excessive fatigue
- Tenderness in the upper back area or arms
- Low back pain
Some people may also experience:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty in maintaining focus
- Memory lapses
- Ringing in the ears
- A disruptive sleep cycle
- Irritability and mood swings
Causes of Whiplash
- Rear-end collisions that most commonly occur during auto accidents
- Sports injuries caused by collisions and blunt force trauma to the neck
- Fall injuries or diving accidents
- Physical abuse or assault (when a person is violently shaken or punched)
Moreover, old age and pre-existing neck pain/arthritis can increase complications for cervical whiplash injury.
Our physical therapists conduct a thorough physical examination during the initial consultation. The tests evaluate the severity of the symptoms and how the neck pain limits your movements and ability to perform daily activities. The team also reviews previous medical records and current diagnosis provided by your primary healthcare provider.
You may bring your CT scans and MRI reports, if available.
We use these details to determine whether or not your symptoms are directly related to cervical whiplash injury. Subsequently, it allows us to rule out any other possibilities for neck pain.
After diagnosis, our physical therapists develop an effective treatment program tailored to individual needs and lifestyle routines. We aim to create neck pain physical therapy plans that can support the natural healing process to alleviate discomfort and reduce trauma-induced muscle spasms.
The program features physical exercises and pain management treatments, including deep tissue massage therapies, hot and cold therapies, and manual manipulation. We also teach patients at-home exercises and neck movements that promote an optimal range of motion and restore movement in the affected area.
What’s more? We take your daily routine and physical health into consideration. That means our treatment plans address specific issues you may face during and after recovery. If required, we will teach you how to improve your posture and integrate ergonomic techniques into your daily activities. These insights are beneficial for athletes, manual laborers, and office workers who are more likely to develop other types of neck pain or medical complications due to their lifestyle.
Our personalized neck pain physical therapy program will mitigate potential risks. It also facilitates a natural and speedier recovery.
Want to learn more about our whiplash injury treatment or personalized neck pain physical therapy services? Contact us or call 201-773-8851 to schedule an appointment or get some more information.